Recently the SADD chapter at a nearby high school asked me if I would speak to their members and any other interested students. They prefaced their request by telling me they did not want another drinking and driving lecture just because their prom and graduation were coming soon. The group said they would prefer something on Hopes and Dreams which I thought had the potential to be an interesting discussion. I thought I would take the opportunity to share some of what I covered and reiterate topics that I believe are absolutely essential for everyone to understand.
Where do hopes and dreams come from? I believe they develop in our brain stimulated by any idea or action that we have been exposed to and would like to pursue. The greatest asset any member of the animal kingdom possesses is the human mind. Not only do we need to understand that but we should take the necessary steps to exercise our control over it. Having taught both high school social studies and high school health I believe I have a good perspective on taking action.
Western civilization, I believe, leads us to approach the mind and body as separate entities, which is a tremendous disservice. Many individuals in our society are preoccupied with the physical aspects of their body. Pursuing what most would define as a “healthy” lifestyle can easily become misdirected. The preoccupation with “youth”, and sex appeal lead many into unhealthy diets, use of steroids, other drugs and even plastic surgery to become younger looking and “healthy” again.
Eastern society not only recognizes the mind-body connection but embraces it in almost all aspects of life. If you look at Buddhism, Taoism, yoga, meditation, martial arts, even gardening this relationship is very obvious. All emphasize the mind body connection. How can they possibly be separated when they are taking place in the same being? Learn to use the power of your mind to the fullest. If you want to be strong physically you must work at it. Developing the attributes of your mind must be worked on too. Use of your mind is critical to developing your ability to pursue your hopes and dreams. It’s important to remember that life is a journey and over time some of your hopes and dreams may change but the skills used to pursue them will always be an asset.
How then do we pursue hopes and dreams? Do we do nothing and hope they just happen or do we follow a conscious plan to pursue them to fruition. If so, what skills can we cultivate to help realize our hopes and dreams?
Developing a positive mental attitude, commitment, perseverance, dedication, believing in our abilities, refusing to be deterred by failure and not letting frustration force us to give up will help us achieve our goals. People, especially the young, need to understand just how much influence we have over events in our lives. Being proactive in our daily interactions gives us more influence in our life’s direction. Don’t be the type of person who just reacts to the events in their life. I think a lot of people feel that their options in dealing with life’s challenges are limited but, I believe, it’s a big mistake to make that assumption. Exercise conscious control over how you deal with events in your life. The choices and decisions you make will determine the direction your life will take. I encourage you not be a person who reacts to the events of life, but rather be the type of person who goes out and makes decisions that will give you more control over the events that happen to you and your journey to fulfill your hopes and dreams.
As I’m sure you understand, perusing hopes and dreams are much easier when things are going well. Many of us fool ourselves into believing that life is safe and that almost all the time we are secure. However, at best, life is unpredictable and full of surprises. Most are welcomed and good, but others may be life changing, demanding and all consuming. In 1995 a 20 year old Boston University freshman named Travis Roy went out on the ice for his first shift as a varsity hockey player. Eleven seconds later he was a quadriplegic. Roy has said “There are times in our lives when we choose our challenges and other times when challenges simply choose us. It is what we do in the face of those challenges that defines who we are, and more importantly, who we can and will become.” It is when you are under duress that your ability to maintain control is truly put to the test. Time and time again, recently, we have seen the resiliency of the human spirit whether it was in Boston, after the bombing, West Texas after the explosion in the fertilizer plant or in Moore Oklahoma after the tornado.
So in closing, remember that the people in Boston, West Texas or Moore Oklahoma don’t have any special attributes that you don’t have. Positive attitude, perseverance, commitment, self-determination and self-discipline are the characteristics you should begin developing today. Why, because they will help you right now, prepare you for life and help you pursue your hopes and dreams. As you continue on this journey we call life know you have the inner strength and mental ability to deal with any challenges that may come between you and your dreams. And use those strengths to safely and successfully guide you through your future. You CAN do it!